Summer wouldn’t be complete without the perfect tunes to get you in the summer spirit. If you’re finding yourself skipping through station after station on the radio, it might be time for you to create a playlist of your own. A good summer playlist captures the rollercoaster of emotions that the summer months bring. Sometimes, you find yourself looking for a song that captures the thrill of jumping off the pool’s high dive, or a song that encompasses the feeling of total peace. Lucky for you, we got the essential songs you need for your ultimate summer soundtrack.
Ranging from pop to rock, you’ll find a song for any summer occasion on this playlist.
1. Cruel Summer by Taylor Swift
I think we all know by now that this blondie cracked the code for creating certified bops. Cruel Summer? No exception. Time seems to pass differently during the summer months. In this song, Swift captures the beautiful chaos of summer. If you feel that you caught the “fever dream high” of summer, put this song on at full blast. If you need to let all of your emotions out, I highly recommend screaming the bridge at the top of your lungs.
2. Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest
Picture this: You and all your friends hanging out in the backyard, the freshly cut grass spilling between your toes, the sparks of lightning bugs floating all around you. Sounds like a summer dream, right? Turn that dream into reality by blasting this song. Dancing in the Moonlight encapsulates that blissful feeling of being with loved ones and enjoying each other’s company. This song has the power to turn any get-together into a party.
“It’s just like a song where if you have all your friends in a car kind of thing you can all jam out,” University of Dubuque alum Jayden Oshirak said. “It’s very energetic. It gets you kind of pumped in a kind of road trip mindset almost I would say.”
Blast this song during any occasion with your friends, from road trips to bonfires. Looking to bring this song to the next level? I recommend listening to this song outside. The sounds of crickets chirping, and the sizzling of a fire add to the experience. Turn this song on when the sun says farewell and the magic of the moon settles in.
3. I Ain’t Worried by One Republic
By now I’m sure you can’t go on TikTok without seeing Top: Gun Maverick content. Maybe you even learned the famous Miles Teller dance. This song describes living in the moment. Life doesn’t allow you enough time to worry, so let all of your anxieties go and enjoy all that life offers. With a melody so catchy, you can’t help but whistle along. Sorry in advance for getting this song stuck in your head.
4. Daylight by Harry Styles
If you didn’t board the Harry’s House train yet, this is your sign to get on. Daylight feels like a driving with the windows down kind of song. Styles sings about his infatuation with his lover, using soaring harmonies to make you float through clouds. The instrumental break after the first chorus feels infectious, leaving you wanting more. If you need advice on how to flirt with your summer love, just do what Styles did and compare them to a spoon dipped in honey. It’ll work like a charm.
5. Heat of the Summer by Young the Giant
Sometimes during the summer, you find yourself stuck on the struggle bus. That’s okay, we all can relate. We all catch the summer funk from time to time. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia tells us he’ll “be wasting time in the sunshine,” and maybe we should do the same. In fact, we look forward to summer so we can do absolutely nothing, right? Pop this song on as you lay out by the pool getting your tan on.
6. Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
Musgraves’s pure and soothing voice will calm you down after a long summer day. The gentle guitar acts as a lullaby as you watch the sun go down. Musgraves sings about how everything that happened in her life brought her to the beautiful moment she shares with her lover. Everything happens for a reason. If you have a rough day, listen to this song and Musgraves will remind you that “everything’s gonna be alright.”
7. Just Like A Movie by Wallows
You deserve to feel like a main character this summer. Like slow-motion-walking-as-the-credits-roll kind of main character. This song captures the feeling of being bombarded by the noise of everyday life and getting lost in the crowd. When you find the right person, the world falls quiet, and everything clicks into place. During the bridge, Braeden Lemasters sings, “And now I see, you see right through me/And now it’s real, just like a movie.”
“I really like that lyric because obviously I’m a film major. I connect a lot with media, especially movies and TV shows and I see a lot of like romantic cliches and stuff,” University of Iowa junior Emily Peterson said. “A lot of my ideas of romance I’ve built off of what I’ve seen through the media. And being in a relationship this summer has very much felt like a movie, so I really like that lyric and that song. I associate it with some of my life experiences.”
Media is definitely a powerful influence in our lives. If you want a love like you see in the movies, don’t feel ashamed. I think everyone can relate. “Just Like A Movie” also radiates the feeling of longing for a passionate love. You can’t help but feel electrified as the guitar fades out. You’ll live your coming-of-age movie dreams.
8. Sedona by Houndmouth
Need a song that makes you feel nostalgic for all your past summers? I got you covered. This song describes the essence of Sedona, Arizona, from the red sandstone to the neon lights. Lead singer Matt Myers reminisces about the town he used to know singing, “Hey little Hollywood/You’re gone but you’re not forgot.” This song might convince you to take a vacation in Arizona.
“My grandparents lived down there so I’ve been there a lot and that was like my spring break spot, which I kind of consider spring break summer a little bit,” Iowa State alum Andrew Snyder said. “But I mean, just vacation. I mean vacations make me think summer and West Coast.”
Sometimes life gets in the way and making time for yourself becomes increasingly harder. Responsibilities don’t just disappear in the summertime. But without vacations, you end up going back to school not feeling refreshed. Prioritize taking mini vacations for yourself, even if you only have time for an hour per day. Need help getting in the vacation mind-set? Add this song to your queue. It itches that perfect spot in your brain.
9. Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly & The Family Stone
This soulful tune makes for a great beach day. Whether you splash around in the water or enjoy staying dry with a good book, this song definitely gets you in the summer spirit. You can’t help but tap your feet and twirl around as the horns kick in. The band celebrates the freedom and joy that the summer months bring, singing, “That’s when I had most of my fun.” Don’t let the summer slip away without blasting this tune with your friends and family.
10. Another Day of Sun from La La Land
Put on La La Land for a great summer movie, as well as an amazing summer soundtrack. In the movie, this song turns a traffic jam at a standstill to a full-blown musical number. What could be more magical? Another Day of Sun narrates the story of two people chasing their dreams. By the time the flute solo comes in you’ll be dancing. This song makes for an awesome summer road trip song. I dare you to try resisting the urge to dance on top of your car while listening to this song.